The catholic church is facing a crisis, an offshoot of clerical sex scandal that has gripped the church over much of Pope Francis’ papacy.

The crisis has seen to the fall of several top clergies including cardinals and archbishops.

On Friday, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of another top bishop, the archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl.

The archbishop is accused of covering up sex abuse by priests.

Also Read: Pope Francis Orders Fresh Investigation Into Sex Allegations Against Top American Bishop

Pope Francis said that he had asked Wuerl to stay on as an “apostolic administrator” until a successor was found.

In a letter of praise, Francis wrote to Wuerl saying that he saw in the cardinal’s request to step down “the heart of a shepherd.” Francis did not criticize Wuerl’s handling of abuse cases.

“You have sufficient elements to ‘justify” your actions and distinguish between what it means to cover up crimes or not to deal with problems, and to commit some mistakes,” Francis wrote. “However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense. Of this, I am proud and thank you.”

Wuerl began hinting — and then confirmed — last month that he’d spoken with, and even urged Francis to accept his resignation.

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